Article by Sarah Leamon, The Georgia Straight
It appears that the Liberals are coming through on one of their campaign promises, which was the legalization of marijuana.
Earlier today, legislation was tabled by our government, seeking to end the 94-year prohibition again the drug. But with it came with some unexpected proposal that are likely to be in conflict with our charter rights. These are the ones aimed at curbing impaired driving.
While the bill’s main focus is centred around the legalization of marijuana, controversy is raging over the impaired-driving provisions. They seek to create a scheme that would involve arbitrary and mandatory roadside breath tests for motorists.
If this new bill were to pass, police officers would be able to demand breath samples, regardless of the circumstances and even where there is no reasonable basis for doing so.
As the law stands today, police officers can demand a motorist supply a roadside breath sample, using a hand-held breathalyzer device, if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that the motorist has alcohol in their body.
This involves somewhat of an investigation at the roadside. However, it is not a cumbersome one. An officer must simply interact with the motorist, and make note of any observations, such as an odour of liquor on the breath or other symptoms of impairment, that may give them a basis to suspect that alcohol is a factor.